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09-18-2012
September 18, 2012
ISS On-Orbit Status 09/18/12

All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except those noted previously or below.

After wakeup, FE-4 Malenchenko performed the routine inspection of the SM (Service Module) PSS Caution & Warning panel as part of regular Daily Morning Inspection.

Afterwards, Yuri worked his way through the weekly three-hour task of “uborka” house cleaning in the RS (Russian Segment) which the Russian crewmembers were prevented from doing on last Saturday (9/15) due to preparations for the 9/16 Soyuz undocking. ["Uborka", usually done on Saturdays, includes removal of food waste products, cleaning of compartments with vacuum cleaner, damp cleaning of the SM dining table, other frequently touched surfaces and surfaces where trash is collected, as well as the sleep stations with a standard cleaning solution; also, fan screens and grilles are cleaned to avoid temperature rises. Special cleaning is also done every 90 days on the HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) bacteria filters in the Lab.]

As part of Uborka house cleaning, Yuri today also completed regular weekly maintenance inspection & cleaning of fan screens in the FGB (TsV2) plus Group E fan grilles in the SM (VPkhO, FS5, FS6, VP), and the grilles of the BMP Harmful Contaminants Removal System and SKV air conditioner in the SM.

In COL (Columbus Orbital Laboratory), CDR Williams turned on the ESA ERB2 (Erasmus Recording Binocular 2) system for ground-controlled operation for the next 1h 20m via Ku-band at a data rate of 8 Mbps. [This started an internal clock in ERB-2 which shuts the system down after 80 minutes. Using the stereoscopic ERB-2, the first live 3-D video images in the 50-year history of spaceflight aboard the ISS were produced by Ron Garan in 2011, with imagery streaming live to ESA's Research & Technology Center in the Netherlands.]

Later, Sunita took on her 2nd session with the MedOps psychological evaluation experiment WinSCAT (Spaceflight Cognitive Assessment Tool for Windows), logging in on the MDLT (Medical Laptop) and going through the psychological evaluation exercise on the PC-based WinSCAT application. [WinSCAT is a monthly time-constrained questionnaire test of cognitive abilities, routinely performed by astronauts aboard the ISS every 30 days before or after the PHS (periodic health status) test or on special CDR's, crewmembers or flight surgeons request. The test uses cognitive subtests that measure sustained concentration, verbal working memory, attention, short-term memory, spatial processing, and math skills. The five cognitive subtests are Coding Memory - Learning, Continuous Processing Task (CPT), Match to Sample, Mathematics, and Coding Delayed Recall. These WinSCAT subtests are the same as those used during NASA’s long-duration bed rest studies.]

Working in the ATV3 (Automated Transfer Vehicle 3), FE-6 Hoshide transferred an M-01 bag from one rack to another for mounting on 9/20 and then took close-out photographs of four ATV3 stowage racks (D1, O1, P2, D2), with subsequent downlinking for ground inspection.

In the RS, Malenchenko supported the ground-controlled shutdown of the Elektron O2 generator. [As part of the standard deactivation process Yuri purged the Elektron BZh Liquid Unit with N2 (nitrogen), controlled from laptop (not earlier than 30 min after deactivation).]

Yuri also completed the routine daily servicing of the SOZh system (Environment Control & Life Support System, ECLSS) in the SM. [Regular daily SOZh maintenance consists, among else, of checking the ASU toilet facilities, replacement of the KTO & KBO solid waste containers, replacement of EDV-SV waste water and EDV-U urine containers and filling EDV-SV, KOV (for Elektron), EDV-ZV & EDV on RP flow regulator.]

Hoshide conducted routine maintenance on the WRS (Water Recovery System) using the LFTP (Low Flow Transfer Pump) to transfer water from CWC-I (Contingency Water Container-Iodine) to the WPA (Water Processor Assembly) and offloading it, using a particulate filter. [Estimated offload time: ~7:30 hrs.]

Later, FE-6 removed the EDV-U urine container (#968) from the WHC (Waste & Hygiene Compartment for subsequent (9/20) disposal of its contents in the ATV3 tankage, and replaced it with a new EDV-U (#977).

Aki also conducted the approximately weekly WRS (Water Recovery System) analysis of WPA (Water Processor Assembly) samples using the TOCA (Total Organic Carbon Analyzer), after first initializing the software and priming (filling) the TOCA water sample hose. [After the approximately 2-hr TOCA analysis, results were transferred to an SSC (Station Support Computer) laptop via USB drive for downlink, and the data were also logged.]

Williams completed her 3rd session with the RFx (Reversible Figures) experiment payload in COL (Columbus Orbital Laboratory), first adjusting the VCA1 (Video Cameras Assembly 1) for coverage, then connecting the RFx hardware to the ESA MPLT (Multipurpose Payload Laptop), followed by performance of the science protocol in free-floating position. Session data were then copied to PCMCIA memory card, and the hardware stowed. [RFx is an ESA experiment designed to investigate the adaptive nature of the human neuro-vestibular system in the processing of gravitational information related to 3D visual perception. Previous research suggests that the reliance on linear perspective cues for three dimensional visual perception decreases when subjects are tilted relative to gravity and in microgravity during parabolic and orbital flight. Based on this observation, it is likely that the adaptive changes in the processing of gravitational information by the neuro-vestibular system during spaceflight may alter 3D visual perception. The RFx (Reversible Figures) investigation involves comparisons of pre-flight, in-flight, and post-flight perceptions with regards to ambiguous perspective-reversible figures to assess the influence of micro-G. The question is whether the perception of ambiguous perspective-reversible figures (figures that can normally be seen in 1g to change in perspective or orientation in two different ways) is affected by micro-G. A comparison of the perceived reversals during visualization of the figures in crewmembers occurs before, during and after long-term exposure to microgravity. It is expected that measurable, perceptual differences can expand our understanding of human cognitive-perception dynamics by examining the differences that exist between the micro-G environment of the ISS and that of the Earth’s surface. The hypothesis that the perceived reversal of 2D figures is not affected in micro-G is to be verified by determining for all phases of the spaceflight: (1) the time for first reversal and the number of perceived reversals of 3D and 2D reversible figures in a given time frame; and (2) the probability for seeing each view/reversal within a figure.]

Afterwards, Suni serviced the two MERLIN (Microgravity Experiment Research Locker Incubator) freezers, first equipping MERLIN-1 in Lab O4_B1 with two fresh desiccant packs and transferring all food items and the tray assembly from the nearby MERLIN-2 (LAB1O4_D1) to MERLIN-1. Later, she removed the old desiccant packs from MERLIN-2 and left the front door open for a 24-hr dryout. [MERLIN is used for cold storage of crew food and drink. Regular service with desiccants is required to prevent moisture accumulation.]

Malenchenko supported the running experiment TEKh-22 “Identifikatsiya” (Identification) in MRM1 by downloading the new batch of structural dynamics measurements of the IMU-Ts microaccelerometer to the RSE1 laptop for subsequent downlink to the ground via OCA. [IMU-Ts is a part of the MRM1 SBI onboard measurement system, installed in PGO behind panel 104.]

Later, Yuri set up the SONY HVR-Z7E HD video equipment in the SM and recorded a message of greetings and congratulations for the 60th anniversary of the Russian State University of Tourism and Services (RGUiS) for subsequent downlink via the RSPI radio transmission data link. [RGUiS today is an institution of higher learning training Russian and international work force for service and tourism industry. It was founded in 1952 as a higher education school of non-agricultural producers cooperation, which was renamed in 2007 to State University of Tourism and Services; over a span of years extending for more than half-century, the university became a leader among Russia’s institutions of higher learning in personnel training for service and tourism industry. Today, nearly 50,000 students from the Russian Federation, neighboring countries and beyond are studying at RGUiS.]

Suni Williams & Aki Hoshide had ~90 min set aside for the first of several on-board proficiency training (OBT) events for SpaceX-1, the first commercial cargo delivery mission planned for next month. [The OBTs focus on reviewing the integrated rendezvous & robotics operations both from 30m to the capture point and for release, manual hand controller skill proficiency for SpaceX-1 capture, Dragon installation with a review of the hand controller inputs using CBCS (Centerline Berthing Camera System) views, and reviewing 2-person VV (Visiting Vehicle) operations with reassignment of VV3 duties to VV1. Today’s proficiency training on the SpaceX-1 mission profile, rendezvous crew procedures, and crew interfaces for monitoring & commanding the Dragon walked through the steps in the rendezvous procedures and provided representative RWS (Robotic Workstation) and PCS (Portable Computer System) laptop screenshots for each step. In addition, the lesson gave an overview of the Dragon commands available to the crew and explains how to execute the commands via the CCP (Crew Command Panel)].

Afterwards, at ~11:45am, Suni & Aki conducted a 30-min teleconference with ground personnel to review the OBT plan as well as late changes & updates to procedures or other planned operations related to the Space-X 1 mission.

Before Presleep (~3:30pm), Williams powers up the MPC (Multi-Protocol Converter) and starts the Ku-band data flow of video recorded during the day to the ground, with POIC (Payload Operations & Integration Center) routing the onboard HRDL (High-Rate Data Link). After about an hour, Suni turns MPC routing off again. [This is a routine operation which regularly transmits HD onboard video (live or tape playback) to the ground on a daily basis before sleeptime.]

The crew worked out on the CEVIS cycle ergometer with vibration isolation (FE-6), TVIS treadmill with vibration isolation & stabilization (FE-4), ARED advanced resistive exercise device (FE-6), T2/COLBERT advanced treadmill (CDR), and VELO ergometer bike with load trainer (FE-4). [CDR & FE-6 are on the special experimental SPRINT protocol which diverts from the regular 2.5 hrs per day exercise regime and introduces special daily sessions involving resistive and aerobic (interval & continuous) exercise, followed by a USND (Ultrasound) leg muscle self scan in COL. No exercise is being timelined for Suni on Friday, for Aki on Thursday. If any day is not completed, Suni & Aki pick up where they left off, i.e., they would be finishing out the week with the last day of exercise on her off day. Suni’s protocol for today showed T2 (aerobic interval, 30s), with ARED/CEVIS (cont.) & T2 (int. 4min) for the next 2 days. Aki’s protocol for today showed ARED/CEVIS (cont.), with T2 (int. 4 min.) for tomorrow.]

Tasks listed for FE-4 Malenchenko on the Russian discretionary “time permitting” job for today were –
  • More preparation & downlinking of reportages (written text, photos, videos) for the Roskosmos website to promote Russia’s manned space program (max. file size 500 Mb), and
  • A ~30-min. session for Russia's EKON Environmental Safety Agency, making observations and taking KPT-3 aerial photography of environmental conditions on Earth using the NIKON D3X camera with the RSK-1 laptop.

CEO (Crew Earth Observation) targets uplinked for today were Kunene River Fan, NAM-AGO (ISS had a near nadir pass in fair weather and early afternoon light with approach from the NW. This large alluvial fan lies between the Kunene River in Angola [N] and Namibia’s Etosha Pan [S] and is subject to periodic flooding from the north. At this time the crew was to look slightly right of track and begin a detailed mapping strip of the fan. Open water may still be visible in many parts of the fan), Cedar Creek Area, MN (Long Term Ecological Research Site [LTER]: Cedar Creek Natural History Area (CCNHA), established in 1940, was designated a National Natural Landmark by the National Park Service in 1975. In 1977, it was included as an Experimental Ecology Reserve in a proposed national network, and in 1982 it was one of 11 sites in the United States selected by the National Science Foundation for funding of LTER. As ISS tracked SE, the crew was to look near nadir for the Cedar Creek Area, just north of Minneapolis and try for detailed shots to document the wetland and upland boundaries), Mount Rainier, WA-USA (ISS had a clear weather pass for this target with approach from the SW. Mount Rainier is a massive stratovolcano located 54 miles southeast of Seattle. With an elevation of 14,411 feet, Rainier is considered one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world. Because of its large amount of glacial ice, Mt. Rainier could potentially produce massive lahars that would threaten the whole Puyallup River valley. At this time as ISS tracked over Seattle, the crew was to shoot just right of track and try for a detailed mapping session of the summit area), Niwot Ridge Tundra, CO (LTER: ISS had a nadir view of this target area in late morning light with fair weather anticipated. This LTER site is located in north-central Colorado within the alpine areas above 3,000m just west of Boulder. As ISS tracked southeastward over the Colorado Rockies, before it reached the plains to the East, the crew was to try for contextual mapping of the ridge and its surroundings), and Santa Barbara Coast, CA (LTER: This site is located in the coastal zone of southern California near Santa Barbara. It is bounded by the steep E-W trending Santa Ynez Mountains and coastal plain to the north and the unique Northern Channel Islands to the south. Remotely sensed data such as CEO photos support studies of the effects of land use and ocean forcing on the processing and transport of nutrients and carbon to giant kelp forests as well as the role of climate change/variability and disturbance on nearshore population dynamics, community structure, and ecosystem processes. This pass approached the coast from the NW in midday light with good weather. As ISS approached the California coastline from the NW, the crew was to look left of track for an opportunity for detailed mapping views along this dramatic coast).

ISS Orbit (as of this morning, 8:45am EDT [= epoch])
Mean altitude -- 416.9 km
Apogee height -- 429.5 km
Perigee height -- 404.3 km
Period -- 92.91 min.
Inclination (to Equator) -- 51.65 deg
Eccentricity -- 0.0018513
Solar Beta Angle -- -17.1 deg (magnitude decreasing)
Orbits per 24-hr. day -- 15.50
Mean altitude loss in the last 24 hours -- 113 m
Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) -- 79,252
Time in orbit (station) -- 5051 days
Time in orbit (crews, cum.) -- 4338 days.

Significant Events Ahead (all dates Eastern Time and subject to change):
-------------- Inc-33: Three-crew operations -------------
09/25/12 -- ATV3 undocking -- 6:35pm
09/26/12 -- ATV3 deorbit (burn 2) -- 10:31pm
10/xx/12 -- SpaceX-1 launch
10/xx/12 -- Soyuz TMA-06M/32S launch – K.Ford (CDR-34)/O.Novitsky/E.Tarelkin
10/xx/12 -- Soyuz TMA-06M/32S docking
-------------- Inc-33: Six-crew operations -------------
10/31/12 -- Progress M-17M/49P launch
10/31/12 -- Progress M-17M/49P docking
11/12/12 -- Soyuz TMA-05M/31S undock/landing (End of Increment 33)
-------------- Inc-34: Three-crew operations -------------
12/05/12 -- Soyuz TMA-07M/33S launch – C.Hadfield (CDR-35)/T.Mashburn/R.Romanenko
12/07/12 -- Soyuz TMA-07M/33S docking
-------------- Inc-34: Six-crew operations -------------
02/11/13 -- Progress M-16M/48P undocking
02/12/13 -- Progress M-18M/50P launch
02/14/13 -- Progress M-18M/50P docking
03/15/13 -- Soyuz TMA-06M/32S undock/landing (End of Increment 34)
-------------- Inc-35: Three-crew operations -------------
04/02/13 -- Soyuz TMA-08M/34S launch – P.Vinogradov (CDR-36)/C.Cassidy/A.Misurkin
04/04/13 -- Soyuz TMA-08M/34S docking
04/23/13 -- Progress M-18M/50P undock/landing
-------------- Inc-35: Six-crew operations -------------
05/16/13 -- Soyuz TMA-07M/33S undock/landing (End of Increment 35)
-------------- Inc-36: Three-crew operations -------------
05/29/13 -- Soyuz TMA-09M/35S launch – M.Suraev (CDR-37)/K.Nyberg/L.Parmitano
05/31/13 -- Soyuz TMA-09M/35S docking
-------------- Inc-36: Six-crew operations -------------
09/xx/13 -- Soyuz TMA-08M/34S undock/landing (End of Increment 36)
-------------- Inc-37: Three-crew operations -------------
09/xx/13 -- Soyuz TMA-10M/36S launch – M.Hopkins/TBD (CDR-38)/TBD
09/xx/13 -- Soyuz TMA-10M/36S docking
-------------- Inc-37: Six-crew operations -------------
11/xx/13 -- Soyuz TMA-09M/35S undock/landing (End of Increment 37)
-------------- Inc-38: Three-crew operations -------------
11/xx/13 -- Soyuz TMA-11M/37S launch – K.Wakata (CDR-39)/R.Mastracchio/TBD
11/xx/13 -- Soyuz TMA-11M/37S docking
-------------- Inc-38: Six-crew operations -------------
03/xx/14 -- Soyuz TMA-10M/36S undock/landing (End of Increment 38)
-------------- Inc-39: Three-crew operations -------------